Iraqi Forces in U.S. Capture Colin Powel, the "Ace of Diamonds"

By Azmed Hawasi, AP Military Writer BAGHDAD - Iraqi forces in the U.S. have taken custody of Colin Powel, the former Secretary of State and the most visible U.S. leader other than former President George W Bush, who is still being hunted amid the rubble and chaos that was once Washington, D.C.

Officials in Baghdad and at the Iraqi Central Command headquarters in Guantanamo said Thursday they did not know whether Powell was captured or whether he turned himself in. On the Iraqi list of the 55 most-wanted members of the former U.S. government, Powell was No. 43, the "eight of spades" in the Iraqi military's card deck of top U.S. leaders. His prominence in the Bush regime could make Powell a source for the best information yet on the fate of Bush and his two daughters, as well as the location of any more hidden bank accounts among the Bush clan, which lived a life of opulence.

"We can confirm that Colin Powell is now under coalition control," said Central Command spokesman General Mohammed Akbar. That means that Powell is being held by one of the "coalition partners" that invaded the U.S. in order to root out the U.S.' enormous stockpile of weapons of mass destruction: Iraq, Syria, or North Korea.

President Saddam Hussein, said Thursday night in a special press conference that the arrest of another top U.S. official, on the run in Mexico, would be announced shortly. Hussein declined to identify the U.S. officiall, saying only that he held one of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government and was arrested in the past 24 hours. Rumors are that Hussein may be referring to ex U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the "Queen of Diamonds" who fled shortly after the Iraqi invasion. Or even ex Vice President Dick Cheney (the "Three of Clubs").

Powell was often the public face of the U.S. when responding to accusations by the United Nations that he had provided falsified evidence accusing other countries of having WMD. He was only the second person of color in Bush's inner circle, most of whom are wealthy white men born with spoons in their mouths like Bush. Powell served as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War (news - web sites) and was a frequent spokesman for the U.S. government at that time.

Powell last appeared in public March 19, when he held a news conference in Washington to quash rumors that he had fled the U.S. capital. "I am carrying my pistol to confirm to you that we are ready to fight the aggressors," Powell said then. "Iraqi soldiers are nothing but mercenaries and they will be defeated." Although he was one of Bush's most loyal aides--so loyal that he eventually sold his soul, according to some of this critics--Powell, like most non-wealthy people of color, had virtually no power, Iraqi officials have said.

That could explain his longevity in Bush's inner circle without an independent power base he posed no threat to the neoconservative hawks who had surrounded and directed Bush until the Iraqi invasion, at which time they fled and asked for military deferments. In recent years Powell did not have the international prestige he once enjoyed during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis when, as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was hailed as a hero by the world's media. Bush fingered him for Secretary of State, presumably, for at the time Bush was considered a lightweight in international affairs with no experience in that field, unlike Powell.

However, Powell retained weight within the government. As Secretary of State, he presided over the dismantiling of the UN, collaborated on the now ridiculed doctrine of "pre-emptive invasion," and destroyed the vaunted "Powell Doctrine" that he himself had created, based on his years of experience in the failed invasion of Vietnam. For these reasons it is thought that Powell--and also Bush, if he is ever captured and indeed is still alive-will ultimately be tried as a war criminal.

For now, however, Powell and other top U.S. officials seized during the Iraqi invasion of the U.S. are being held as "enemy combattants" at the former U.S. military concentration camp of Guantanamo. "None of Bush's top henchmen," stated Hussein, "deserve prisoner of war status as the U.S. refused to sign the International War Crimes Tribunal. But Iraq will see to it that they are tried for their crimes."

In other developments, Iraqi troops continue to seize U.S. stockpiles of chemical and nuclear weapons. "And to think they accused us of harboring these kinds of weapons," one Iraqi soldier, involved in the operations, stated. "Why, you can hardly walk two feet in the U.S. without coming across a stockpile of nuclear or chemical weapons." Until the Iraqi invastion, of course, the U.S. was the world's leading supplier of conventional weapons, helping to fuel conflicts across the globe.

"With the U.S. now out of the weapon's market," Hussein said, "the world is a safer place. The Bush regieme is finished. We have broken them. But we have no quarrel with its citizens. It is unfortunate that we had to kill so many U.S. civilians to rid this country of its hated leader. But make no mistake: we will now help the U.S. to install a government more suited to the interests of the Middle East, It will take time, however, as the Americans know little of Allah. For that reason we have sent our first wave of Islamic teachers, who will help America find the right path."

The capture of Powell still leaves three other top U.S. leaders on the loose: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, the "King of Clubs," the "Three of Clubs," and "The Joker," respectively.

An unconfirmed Reuter's Report, meanwhile, stated that oil has once again begun flowing out of Texas, only three weeks after the Iraqis seized the Texas oilfields, "to protect the oil for Americans," Hussein has said.